Miquel Lacasta, 2021 National Urban Planning Award: “Workplaces should have showers and space for bicycles”

The UIC Barcelona School of Architecture lecturer and 2021 National Urban Planning Award for the Agrocity Gagarine Truillo in Ivry-sur-Seine from the Archikubik studio, Miquel Lacasta i Codorniu, said that all workplaces should have showers and bicycle parking places. Coinciding with World Urban Planning Day, which is celebrated on 8 November, Lacasta recalled that “in Barcelona the weather is exceptional and it is still amazing that bicycles are not used even more.”

The urban planning specialist is committed to regreening cities in a radical way and that the horizontal dimension of the city is always be planted, have vegetation, be it at the street level or on the rooftops. “With this action, the heat island effect would almost disappear, we would better retain water, and generate a lot of oxygen,” he said.

In his opinion, cities “are the key to the future or they may be the key to failure” because “they occupy only 2% of the planet, but consume 75% of the energy and emit 70% of the CO2. The expert thinks that, if the whole city is greener, closer, has more services and, therefore, is more accessible on foot or by bicycle, “we will stop talking about privileged neighbourhoods.” He added, “The climate emergency is the great opportunity to equalise the design of cities and not only increase the quality of less-favoured areas, but to eliminate pollution privileges in the most-favoured areas.”

The UIC School of Architecture lecturer points out that super islands can be key, as in his opinion “this is the most powerful case of advanced urban planning in the world, along with the 15-minute city concept, which the pandemic has confirmed.”

Lacasta believes that cities must be designed from many perspectives, and gender is a fundamental one. “Poorly lit and dangerous streets, frightening alleyways, recessed entrance ways, are important aspects for providing security. The perspective of adolescents, children, the elderly is also important,” he stressed. The UIC Barcelona lecturer recalled that he had “to sit face to face for almost six months with associations, neighbours, interest groups, with workshops for adolescents, the elderly, children and women’s groups, of course,” in order to carry out the Agrocity Gagarine Truillot project in Ivry-sur-Seine, for which the Archikubik studio was awarded the Spanish Urban Planning Award granted by the Higher Council of Professional Associations of Architects of Spain (Consejo Superior de Colegios de Arquitectos de España, CSCAE) in July.

The expert thinks that today the area of urban planning is no longer the city, but the planet. “Urban planning must no longer be accountable to society, but to the ecosystem, in other words, to human beings, but also to everything that is not lifeless, trees, vegetables, mammals, insects, and so on. The scope of urban planning and architecture has been extended to all possible limits. “We are no longer building in a neighbourhood, from a neighbourhood we are building on the planet,” Lacasta concluded.

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